Stop romping at our gates! - Massage parlour and sidewalk sex pushing residents out of Gore Terrace
The Sunday Gleaner continues a series of once-thriving residential communities that have started to decay because of crime and other factors such as the illegal operation of commercial activities. If your community is dying a painful death, email firstname.lastname@example.org and a team will visit the area to highlight your concerns.
A 'sex shop' masquerading as a massage parlour and a 24-hour wrecker company are among the entities making life miserable for residents of Gore Terrace in Kingston 10.
According to the residents who were willing to speak, they are forced to endure nightly noise nuisances and used condoms strewn around their gates each morning.
"I have been living here some 30 years now, from there was a bridge up there to here. It was really a quiet, nice area, and everybody wanted to live here," reminisced Michael Ferguson, an elderly resident of Gore, Terrace, one of few who wanted to speak to our news team.
"Me sorry for the people them who are living in the area right now because it is really complicated," added Ferguson. "You have a wrecker company nearby, and if you see the trucks them passing with the speed and the dust ... is a shame," he bemoaned.
"I put this house up for sale and is only business why I don't leave here yet," continued the elderly man.
"My children them taking me abroad because of the conditions down here. Look at the roads! Look at the potholes! Is the trucks cause the road to look like this, and when the rain falls, the potholes gather water and breed pure mosquitoes."
Ferguson was once a vibrant member of an unofficial Gore Terrace Citizens' Association, a quarterly meeting of a handful of concerned residents.
He charged that the wrecker company had been operating in the area for many years and that attempts by the authorities to remove the company had brought little results as the operators had ignored several stop orders placed on the company in the past.
Ferguson pointed out that many of his neighbours were timid and would not speak out publicly. This was confirmed minutes later as an elderly woman, who repeatedly begged our news team not to name her, outlined a hellish ordeal with robbers in the community. She expressed fear that the thieves would target her house again.
A tour of the area last week revealed multiple potholes on Gore Terrace, some the size of a baby's bathtub. For the most part, the roads have been stripped of their asphalt coating, reducing sections to dust tracks. At least two trucks, with thick palls of dust in tow, were observed speeding past Ferguson's home during the interview.
But the bigger problem is the massage parlour, which the residents say doubles as a sex shop. It causes traffic congestion in the community, especially on weekends. Sometimes, residents say, some of the girls offer private services in cars parked on the outside.
That explains why many driveways on the terrace are blocked with metal chains and the perimeter fences are lined with huge boulders and metal barriers.
According to the residents, that is the only way they can prevent motorists visiting the massage parlour from parking in their driveways or on their lawns.
"You see those big boulders I have out front? I put the big boulders and curb stones there to prevent the taxi drivers from parking there," said Susan Lawrence as she declared that she was fed up of living on the neighbouring Gore Close.
"They park under the trees and sleep or wait on passengers there. Personally, I don't mind it, but they pick the grapefruit and the mangoes and they eat it and leave the garbage there," said the woman, who said she was born in England of Jamaican parents.
Now, she spends her time between Jamaica and England, and living permanently on Gore Close is not in her plans.
"The experience living here is awful! I would not give up my home to come here to live here on a permanent basis. This is no place for my children," said Lawrence as she charged that most mornings, she had to sweep used condoms from her gate.
"We complained to the police, we complained to this department, that department, and my God, it's just unbelievable!" she said. "So I personally just gave up. I don't give a rat's a*** what they do! It's not my turf. I can go and come as I like, and that's it," said Lawrence.
But leaving is not as easy for Susan Scott, who lives on Gore Terrace. Scott told our news team that she has nowhere else to go.
Many nights, she has had to leave her house to knock on car windows to indicate to motorists that the moaning from inside their vehicles was causing her discomfort.
"Some of them do move," she said, while noting that others get upset with her for disrupting them.
"A lot of the time you don't even know who is in the vehicle. Anything can happen," she said, adding that persons having sex in the motor vehicles are a bad influence on children in the community.
At least two other residents complained about the issues and said that the matter had been brought to the attention of Delroy Chuck, the member of parliament for St Andrew North East, which encompasses Gore Terrace.
Chuck told our news team that this was the first time that residents of Gore Terrace had raised the issues with him, even as he admitted that he had not visited the area in five years.
"The only area in which commercialisation has been brought to my attention is Bedford Park," said Chuck in relation to a community close to Gore Terrace.
According to Chuck, the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) has been slow in its efforts to deal with the commercialisation of Bedford Park.
"The KSAC, to the best of my knowledge, has issued notices to the people. I can't stop the commercialisation. It is a matter for the KSAC, and that is a matter that has been brought to the council on many occasions," said Chuck.
"These concerns have never been brought to my attention from residents of Gore Terrace. If this has been a problem in the last couple of years, they have not brought it to my attention, and if they said that they have brought it to my attention, they are not telling the truth," continued Chuck.
"They could always invite me to a meeting and let us address the matter. The fact that I do not know of the commercialisation in Gore Terrace ... I may not have visited there (recently), but four-five years ago when I visited, there wasn't a problem," added Chuck.
In the meantime, police in the St Andrew Central Division have indicated that they will increase patrols in the area in light of the residents' concerns.